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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Minutes Matter: Exciting St. Augustine Entrance

The weather forecast said no rain for a couple of hours. But these clouds were telling us something else.

We enjoyed the sunshine all day long from Daytona Florida to St. Augustine, lolling along the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway). The winds for the most part that day were nil to light, sometimes blowing gently against our bow.

Earlier in the day, we saw this place on the ICW, a perfect party pad.

Looking at my weather app, I told Wayne it looked like we had a few hours before the rain was forecast to hit.

Neptune, looking lordly
from a dock on the ICW

"You mean 15 minutes," he countered. 

No, I said, puzzled. Instead of reading a weather app, he studiously scanned the horizon. He noticed an inky bank of clouds advancing our way.

"Close the hatches," he said. Usually, I'm the one battening down the hatches after he suggested waiting, getting soaked as I flex my climbing skills to close hatches not designed to be closed by someone my height. I got right to it.

Wayne insisted I stay below while the rain pelted down on him through the open cockpit window.

We were 15 minutes from grabbing a mooring ball in St. Augustine. We were exiting an exceptionally narrowly navigable part of the ICW. A day off a new moon, the high and low tides were more extreme than usual. We were at dead low tide and there were mere inches between our keel and the muddy bottom.

No sooner did I close the hatches when suddenly, we got slammed by a 40-knot gust, the rain sluiced down, lightning lit up otherwise the now-dark sky and thunder rumbled. 

Forget about grabbing a mooring ball, it was all Wayne could do to see where he was going. 

Fortunately for us, we were in a wide-open section, Wayne stalled a bit since he couldn't see where he was going—the rain sheeted down that hard. 

Suddenly as the squall started, it stopped. Wayne proceeded to our mooring ball, grabbed the ball's pennant with our boat hook, threaded it with our line, and tied it off. Just like that, we were set. Then the wind kicked back up and blew and blew and blew.

Sunset setting through the oaks in St. Augustine tonight.

A little earlier, and that squall would've caught us in that narrow, twisty, shallow section and we'd have run aground. A little later and we would've had a heckuva time grabbing our mooring ball in the high winds. We were snug in our anchorage. The boat was dry and steady. We felt grateful (though this time, Wayne was disappointed I didn't catch that squall on video).

St. Augustine is a fun place to hang out and watch the world go by.

One of the amusing boats parading past in St. Augustine tonight.

Pirate tour boat in St. Augustine tonight.

They say walking on water is a miracle.  But in St. Augustine, there's cycling on water.
Location Location

We're currently in St. Augustine Florida, 29 53.253N 81 18.289W. Monday we'll meander to Sisters' Creek, then cross the border the next day to Cumberland in Georgia.

Who knew egrets were this territorial? 
These two were on the St. Augustine docks.

 
These armadillos were too busy chowing down to notice me. Sculpture Park, St. Augustine.
I still have a number of Bahamas blog posts and videos to catch up on, but sometimes I just want to show you where we are right now.

P.S. If you like armadillos and other weird Florida wildlife, check out this video; if nothing else, do it just for the song. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Back in the USA

We're back—arrived in the U.S. Friday, April 30th a little over a week ago, after an overnight passage from the Nassau, Bahamas area. We aimed for Fort Pierce originally, but the winds were too light to make it before dark, so instead, we entered at Lake Worth, the Miami Florida area. 

Sally and Julene, visiting our boat from Sunnier Palms in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Photo courtesy Julene.
We didn't set foot on U.S. soil for another two days, the day after we got to Fort Pierce. Fort Pierce is "old home week" where we caught up with the friends we made while we were there, boat shopping for two months.  Returning to the US meant we needed to get our phone plans set up, check in (yay! we got to do this over our mobile phone), our COVID vaccination, our produce restocked . . . and other boring but necessary stuff.
 
"Stay for Cinco de Mayo!" our friends at Sunnier, said. "It'll be lots of fun!" We did. It was. We even got to see our friends again at our next stop, Vero Beach, where they showed up in a pontoon boat near our anchorage.

Now we're making our way north, where we'll spend the summer. We're currently in Daytona, Florida. Our insurance requires our boat to be north of the Florida border by June 1st.

We're working on our what next; more about that soon.

Bahamas catch-up post still coming, as well as a bit of a retrospective.

Location Location
Dayton Beach, N29 13.941 81 01.360W. Next stop: St. Augustine.